Mar 28 2012

How long should my computer last?

By Bob Hooper, a.k.a. Rent-A-Bob

Wow what a loaded question that is! Let’s talk about computer hardware, printers, and monitors and leave the rest to others. So you buy a computer, spend a bundle, and four years later your computer is as slow as molasses. What needs to be replaced and why?

In the world of computing, it seems that there are major design improvements every day but a good timeframe to consider upgrading is around every three to four years. This is subjective to many things including what your last upgrade entailed, what developments have occurred, and your personal or professional life. When buying an upgraded computer expressly because of technology, consider what is available. Unless you are doing cutting edge work creating the latest gizmo or gadget, I would suggest getting the middle-of-the-line upgrades. So if upgrading solely because your computer takes five minutes to load a page, do a bit of research and stay away for the latest, shiniest, newest model.

So what about monitors and printers? With monitors, if you still have one of the old clunky “CRT” monitors, splurge and go get a nice LCD flatscreen. They have come way down in price, with 19″ LCD monitors as low as $100. A LCD monitor should last a good while and is compatible with desktops and laptops. If you’re using a laptop or tablet, you might pay a bit more and get a HDMI-ready monitor as some tablets and many laptops have a connection for it. I find myself recommending that people upgrading the home desktop to a laptop, and using the existing monitor with a wireless keyboard and mouse. That way you have the mobility of the laptop with the larger monitor and full keyboard while at home or the office. One note on monitors, however; never try to fix them or open the back…they have capacitors in them and the electric shock could kill you.

Finally, about printers, what can I say? We all have had that darn printer that works, then jams, has spotty text and just generally causes you headaches. If your printer is four years old or older, the ink itself is probably costing way too much to use. Newer printers with newer technology print with less ink, and the cost of the ink holders have come down. If your printer has never given you a bit of trouble and works well with your latest upgrades, then by all means hang onto it, but if constant problems arise, ditch it! A good middle-of-the-road printer can be had for under $100 and the ink will last longer for less. If you find yourself constantly calling someone to fix your two-year-old printer, spending countless hours unloading the drivers and re-installing them, always fixing paper jams and just generally being frustrated with it, just get a new one. A two – to three-year-old printer that cost $200 at the time is not worth $200 in repairs. One other advantage to a new printer is “Airprint” for those iPad and iPhone users. If you buy a new printer, make sure it is Airprint ready, wireless, and you can print from your iPad/iPhone and Mac computers without any other software.

I look forward to some good questions and helping you out. If you need immediate assistance, you can always call Rent-A-Bob at 822-7794 or email at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.